Fiona Vera-Gray, "The Right Amount of Panic: How Women Trade Freedom for Safety" (Policy Press, 2018)


Have you ever thought about how much energy goes into avoiding sexual violence? The work that goes into feeling safe goes largely unnoticed by the women doing it and by the wider world, and yet women and girls are the first to be blamed the inevitable times when it fails. We need to change the story on rape prevention and ‘well-meaning’ safety advice, because this makes it harder for women and girls to speak out, and hides the amount of work they are already doing trying to decipher ‘the right amount of panic’. With real-life accounts of women’s experiences, and based on the author’s original research on the impact of sexual harassment in public, this book challenges victim-blaming and highlights the need to show women as capable, powerful and skillful in their everyday resistance to harassment and sexual violence. In this interview, Dr. Fiona Vera-Gray and I discuss the fear of crime paradox, factors that contribute to fear of crime, the concept of safety work, and how we can move forward in combating sexual harassment and violence against women. I recommend this book for anyone interested in gender, victimology, women’s practices of safety work and experiences with sexual harassment and sexual violence. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation about such important work. Dr. Fiona Vera-Gray, author of The Right Amount of Panic: How Women Trade Freedom for Safety (Policy Press, 2018), is a researcher based at Durham University working on violence against women and girls. She has over a decade of frontline experience in sexual violence and has written widely on the topics of sexual violence, sexual harassment, women’s safety work, and sexual violence prevention. You can find her on Twitter at @VeraGrayF.
Krystina Millar is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. Her research interests include gender, sociology of the body, and sexuality. You can find her on Twitter at @KrystinaMillar.

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